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The massacre outside the beautiful old synagogue in Halle, Germany, as its congregants marked Yom Kippur on Wednesday, was horrific enough in itself. It included the slaughter of two apparently random passers-by, the explosion of improvised bombs and the killer’s attempts to storm the house of worship and commit a larger crime on the holiest day of Judaism.

Far worse was the sickening sense of familiarity that emerged in its wake.

The German man who is accused of the crime captured his actions on a helmet-mounted camera broadcasting to social media; its audio feed carried his stream-of-consciousness justification in German interspersed with English phrases, in which he imagined that Jews, feminists and immigration are part of some sort of invasive plot. He also published a manifesto. His phrases and concepts sounded similar to those that accompanied massacres in Pittsburgh, in Christchurch, New Zealand, in Quebec City, in Oslo and in a dozen other incidents aimed at religious minorities and those who accept them.

It was immediately clear, especially to Europeans of Jewish faith, that this was not an isolated incident. Acts of harassment or outright violence against Jews have become far more commonplace, fuelled by election successes by parties that have given mainstream credibility to ideas that have been unspeakable since the 1940s.

In a study conducted last December, the European Union’s rights agency found that 89 per cent of Jews living in Europe’s 12 most populous countries felt that anti-Semitism in their country has increased over the past decade. According to the German government, anti-Jewish crimes (including speech crimes) increased by 20 per cent over 2017; violent physical attacks against Jews increased even more dramatically, from 37 in 2017 to 62 in 2018.

According to the federal government, almost 95 per cent of these attacks are being committed by ethnic Germans who are supporters of right-wing movements and parties.

After Wednesday, it was much harder for Germans to pretend that the electoral successes of far-right political parties such as Alternative For Germany (AfD) are not related to the rise of anti-Jewish violence.

One prominent conservative politician, Joachim Herrmann of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, pointed out in an interview Thursday that violent anti-Semitism is being inflamed by two factors: “one is these terrible violent offenders, from whom we must protect ourselves; the other is the intellectual arsonists … representatives of the AfD who have drawn attention to themselves in an outrageous way." He said, in particular, the prominent eastern German AfD leader Bjoern Hoecke, who has made headlines by denouncing Berlin’s Holocaust memorial and delivering speeches against minorities reminiscent of the 1930s.

The state of Saxony-Anhalt, where the attack occurred, is one of several places in Europe where parties of intolerance have become mainstream.

The AfD currently holds 28 per cent of seats in the state legislature, making it the second-largest party. While it calls itself “anti-immigration” and claims to have abandoned the Jew-hatred of its far-right antecedent parties, its campaign messages repeat old claims that Germans of different skin colours or faiths are being brought in to “replace” the country’s “host” population (thus suggesting that Jewish, Muslim and black Germans are not part of “our" community) – and that mysterious “globalists,” with Jewish surnames, are behind the plot.

Last week, I was on a research tour of cities and towns near Halle in Saxony-Anhalt, where as many as 40 per cent of the population supports AfD, and I spoke to a number of people who have experienced violent harassment or physical attacks – some for being Jewish, or darker-skinned, or speaking with an accent, but even more for simply being known to tolerate or help such people. It is no coincidence that these ideas flourish, as do the political parties that advocate them, only in places where there are hardly any minorities or immigrants. And the link between populist-right support and outright violence was evident to everyone I met.

Christian Bangel, a scholar of right-wing extremism and writer with the newspaper Die Zeit, pointed out that anti-Jewish hate figures like the Halle killer weren’t drawing on some fringe concepts from the internet, but from the words and phrases uttered by populist-right party leaders on TV talk shows.

"Anti-Semitic narratives come together when the AfD and its supporters talk about the demographic catastrophe that left-wing feminism has triggered, and is now being dealt with through Arab mass immigration supported by left-wing elites who know nothing of the norms and values of ordinary citizens,” he said. Those conspiracy theories seem absurd to anyone whose neighbours or co-workers are Jewish or Muslim or foreign-born – but they grow wild in the minds of young men in sparse and homogenous regions.

“The anti-Semitism of the AfD no longer needs Jews," Mr. Bangel wrote. "All it needs is anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

Doug Saunders, the Globe’s international-affairs columnist, is currently a Richard von Weizsaecker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin.

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